Saturday, December 31, 2005

The Year 2005 In Restrospect

What a year 2005 had been for me in terms of running. This was the year where I set all my personal bests for all distances ranging from the mile (1.6km), 2.4km, 5km, 10km to the longer 21km (half-marathon) 42.195km (full marathon) to the 63.3km (ultra-marathon).

A year where I officially joined the MR25 Running Club and the SgRunners Online Running Community. Also a year where I did my first overseas race in KL. A year where I made so many friends and comrades in running that I would have to list them in a database to keep track. A year where I exceeded 3000km in total running mileage...and many many more firsts...Definitely a memorable year for me in 2005.

I now look forward to an even more exciting 2006, where I will be looking to run more overseas races, many more marathons and longer distances, and aiming for my sub 4hr marathon. Much to do, with plans already laid out...Let's Go!

I Have A Dream!

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Sunday, December 25, 2005

My First Ultra-Marathon

I did the MR25 Ultra-Marathon today, totalling 6 laps of the 10.5km MacRitchie x-country route.
Officially I ran a total distance of 63.3km in a time of 8hrs 51min. Was awarded a certificate of participation, as well as a nice T-Shirt.

Mr25 Ultra-Marathon finisher's certificate

Race Overview
As I was leaving my house for MacRitchie for the MR25 Ultra-Marathon, the rains came. It got heavier and heavier. I received a couple of smses from SgRunners asking if the run was to go on. I drove up to MR and was stuck in my car for a good 45min, as the rain was too heavy for me to leave. I could see people turning up in cabs and cars, and many gathered in the toilet at carpark B.

A rainy morning & start

At about 6.45am, I got down to register and get my bib 3158. At 7.15am, after a short brief, and with the rain still beating down, the run was flagged off by MR25 President. We were to run laps around the MR x-country route of 10.5km, and cover a minimum of 5 laps before being recognized as a Ultra-Marathoner.

Lap 1
There were lots of sloshing and splashing as we ran up the Northern Route. I was trying to avoid the many puddles of water, hoping to keep my shoes dry. I was running a slow pace, and was just tailgating TLR and Evelyn. I was overtaken by quite a number of anxious runners at this point too. As we ran, the skies turned brighter and the rain became lighter. At the end of the first lap, the rain had become a slight drizzle. I finished lap 1 in about 1hr10min. Once back, the marshalls will call out our bib nos. and recorded our lap times, as well as keep track of the number of laps we had run. My shoes were soggy by now, but I decided to change my socks and shoes after the second lap.

Lap 2
Started off lap 2 after a short water break. I was still feeling strong, and my shoes were also drying out. The rain has stopped by midway of the 2nd lap, and I was looking to finish it for a change of shoes. I was still wearing my old GT2090, which was definitely not suitable for trail running. I was running mostly alone for lap 2, and 3km near to the end of the loop, saw a PaceSetter runner from KL who was lost. I guided him along, and I continued to run strongly to finish in 1hr15min. As I returned, I saw DO amd TLR about to make their way for lap 3. run3 came in strongly shortly after me, and I cheered her on. I took a longer break after lap 2 to change my shoes. I put on my trail runners, Nike Air Storm Moto..a tad heavy.

Lap 3
Just before starting off on lap 3, I saw taz, who was looking strong. We chatted for a bit, and I made my way. run3 and Yankee had already started, they really don't waste much time. In this lap, I started to take more walk breaks, mainly on those upslopes. It will serve to help me conserve energy for the remaining laps. The ground had dried quite a fair bit, and my dry shoes really helped to make me feel more comfortable. At the turning out into SICC, and at the water point, I saw Yankee and Carine. I joined them from there, and they told me run3 had run ahead. From there, Carine and me paced one another, taking walk breaks on upslopes. Yankee has decided to slow his pace and lagged behind. I began to feel a little tiredness in the legs, but was still ok. Carine mentioned she will go for a change of shoes after that 3rd lap, and she will finish the 5laps for the coveted tee-shirt. As we near the exercise area, we met DO who was much ahead earlier. DO developed shin problems, and had to abandon the run. What a dampener for him. Carine and I moved on after a short chat with DO. We finished jointly and had some nice photos taken by Lim Teck Heng & Balasing.

Lap 4
I took just a short break before starting lap4. i put on some deep heat cream to my claves, and also had a hydralyte from DO. DO had turned to become support crew, and was doing a great job cheering for Sgrunners coming in for the laps. I was quite strong in this lap, and was pacing a group of 2 guys, but otherwise, it was quite uneventful. I met jamessoh and Jennifery at around the Jelutong Tower. They were going on lap 3 then. I finished lap 4 in about 1hr25min.

Nice completion of of laps 3,4,5

Lap 5
In this lap, I was overtaken by run3 a couple of times as I walked the upslopes. run3 and choonwei were running together. I was also joined by Dasher who had just arrived. run3 was like sprinting most of the time. hmm....this gal is a fast runner by any standards. I just did my own pace, and I told Dasher to move ahead if he needed to. At the SICC drinks point, I met up with run3 and choonwei again. run3 said she was feeling tired, and would be finishing off with 5laps. I was still contemplating on whether to do a 6th lap. As we ran along the wooden bridge onto the sunny area along the golf course, I also met Ah Leng from SAFRA. He too was going to finish with 5laps. I picked up speed and and soon left them behind. I bumped into Chua and Sok Hwa at the tree-roots area, and they were happy to find that I have closed the gap. DO was surprised to see me finish ahead of run3 as she was in front of me earlier. cw, Dasher and run3 came in shortly. I estimate that I did lap 5 in 1hr35min. I was happy to complete the minimum requirement and had a good photo shot. I completed the 5laps, 52.5km in 6hr49min. I wanted to stop here, and just collect my cert. Bug had already finished his 5laps in 1hr 25min...wah, fast. Slacker was there to support with chicken rice, and maybe thats what motivated Bug to rush back..hehe.

1 more lap (Lap 6)
I decided after a long rest to walk my last lap. I asked DO for some salt solution, to prevent cramps. As I started to slow jog the 6th lap, I could feel the tightening of my muscles. I walked quite a lot, but still attempted to run as much as I can. I walked quite a lot at Sime Trail, and could see a few runners walking too. As I reached Jelutong Tower, I was pacing an Ang Moh guy. He was walking faster than my very slow jog. Once we cross the golf course, and into the exercise area, I saw a new water point set up. Took a drink there and some photos from Teck Heng. with a remaining 3km left, I just plodded along, and with just 1km more to go, I overtook the Ang Moh and I sped home to a rousing applause from Sgrunners support. It felt so good to finish. I immediately went to collect my finisher's cert and a nice tee-shirt. Yankee and 136 was in the queue to collect theirs too. Well done all SgRunners.

Post Run
I spent a while trying to do some stretches, and chatting with all the satisfied SgRunners. Sotong was having chicken rice. I was in no mood to eat anything so solid. Ultraman was about to begin his 7th lap, and TLR too wanted to go for a 8th lap. DO asked me to try for a 7th lap to be in the prize standings, but I was just too tired to go, though I still had a good 3hrs to do it. taz came back quite a while later, and he went straight for his 7th lap. He finished in 8th position eventually...well done.

I left earler, and did not join in the buffet dinner that was arranged. I just wanted to go home to get a good bath, and rest my sore legs. I was happy that I have conquered yet another challenge, an Ultra-Marathon of 63.3km in distance. I hope this will set the tone for better things to come for my running in 2006.

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Thursday, December 22, 2005

Ultra-Marathon Week

This Sunday, Dec25, Christmas Day will see me attempting my first ultra-marathon at MacRitchie - The MR25 Ultra-Marathon. As I am saving my legs for the big day, I have done some easy runs to keep the engines and legs warmed up.

Did a family run on Monday with the kids and wifey. Ran first with the kids for about 4km, taking 28mins around the neighbourhood. The pace was pretty ok, but for the kids, it was a hard workout. As they turned back to home, Beverly and I continued for another to/fro along the Lorong Ah Soo stretch covering another 5km approx. Total was about 9km for a nice evening run.

On Tuesday, did about 8km at SAFRA MF, running easy into Labrodor Park, and along Harbourfront. Had a Sgrunner friend, DiverRunner join in the run, and later had nice cakes and 100plus, before going for nice cheng tng. Another easy workout, good to keep the legs going, yet not over-stretching the effort. Divey had a nice, hard workout which she really appreciated afterwards...hehe

Went for a 5km run on the threadmill on Wed night, while waiting for the rain to stop. Once the rain stopped at about 8pm, went for a 10-lap swim with a mixture of front-crawl and breast-stroke with rest for every 50m. After that, went for nice fish soup carbo-loading.

Thursday night was raining again, and I joined friends from SgRunners (Divey, Tiwazz, DO, Yulan, Spyfish) for a nice 4km run in the rain from Funan to Kim Seng Park and back. Chatted with a number of other runners from the other groups, and there were some interesting charaters whom I did invite to come and visit the SgRunners forum. It was a pleasant run, and I hope to be able to join in the run on Thursday, if I do not have SAFRA runs on that day. After that, a few of us met up with Cokiee and cosmic at Esplanade to makan and have teh-tarik. Most of us had 2 cups, and that night saw many sleepless souls...hehe.

This Sunday is Ultra-Marathon day, and I am resting on Friday and Saturday. I hope to be fit enough and well rested to complete the 5 laps of the 10.5km MacRitchie loop. Lots of Sgrunners and some SAFRA Runners are expected to join in too. It should be a nice run for all of us, with many familiar faces running about in that small trail. Here's wishing everyone a good run on Sunday.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The World's Top 10 Marathons - 2005

I hope to do at least one of them in my running lifetime

The World's Top 10 Marathons

We selected the best marathons on the planet, so start making
your reservations now. Oh, and leave yourself enough time
for a couple more long runs.

by: Runner's World international editorial staff

It may not boast the crowds of New York City or the history of Boston, but in nearly all other respects, the LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon now holds the edge as America's best and biggest marathon. From its nadir in 1987 when the event was cancelled, Chicago has re-established its world-class credentials with a supremely fast course, excellent race management, and a concern for the ordinary runner that other events should emulate.
Course: The flat, wide, fast, loop course starts and finishes in the vast expanse of Grant Park on the shore of Lake Michigan. The route showcases many of Chicago's attractions-from the city-center skyscrapers to the diverse ethnic neighborhoods most tourists never see.
Size: 35,000+
Contact: LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon, P.O. Box 10597, Chicago, IL 60610; (888)243-3344;

Most runners don't need an excuse to visit Hawaii, particularly in early December when much of the northern hemisphere is cloaked in cold and darkness. But if you need one, the Honolulu Marathon is it. It's a big race with big atmosphere. Much of that ambiance comes from the visiting Japanese, who constitute the majority of the huge field. The race starts painfully early (at 5 a.m.) in darkness, but this allows you to run in cooler temperatures. Once the sun comes up, you'll enjoy fabulous views of the Pacific.
Course: The near-loop course starts in Ala Moana Beach Park and finishes at Kapiolani Park. Along the way, it takes in Honolulu's notable sights, including Waikiki Beach, Diamond Head, and Koko Head Crater. You'll have two modest climbs at 7 and 24 miles, but most of the course is flat.
Size: 25,000
Contact: Honolulu Marathon Office, 3435 Waialae Ave., Ste. 208, Honolulu, HI 96816; (808) 734-7200;

The London Marathon is truly a marathon for every runner. The huge field, beautiful course, enthusiastic crowds, and party atmosphere appeal to first-timers, while the speed of the course and faultless organization continue to draw seasoned marathoners. The inaugural event in 1981 was inspired by the New York City Marathon, but London's success has made it the benchmark against which all others are now judged.
Course: The point-to-point route starts in Blackheath and Greenwich Parks in southeast London, passes right by the Houses of Parliament and Buckingham Palace, and finishes next to St. James Park on the Mall. Along the way, it takes you past many more of the city's famous historic sights. Although the route twists, turns, and narrows in places, it doesn't include any notable hills.
Size: 30,000+
Contact: Flora London Marathon, P.O. Box 1234, London, England SE1 8RZ; phone 0207 620 4117;

If any marathon could honestly claim to be the world's favorite, it's New York City. No other event attracts such a large proportion of international runners from so many countries. They're drawn by the unique appeal of the city, the big-event atmosphere, and the incredible crowds that line the entire route. The original big-city marathon, New York City is a must for anyone who wants to experience all the energy and excitement a marathon can offer.
Course: Starting on the huge expanse of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge from Staten Island, the course offers a feast-for-the-senses cultural tour through New York's five boroughs, then finishes in Central Park.
Size: 30,000+
Contact: Marathon Entries, P.O. Box 1388, G.P.O., New York, NY 10116; (212) 423-2249;

The city of Paris has never struggled to attract visitors in the springtime. It's just that in the past, not many of them came for the marathon, which for years had been plagued by organizational snafus and indifferent support. Not any longer. The organization has greatly improved, the race has the budget to draw a decent elite field, and runners now flock to the Paris Marathon by the thousands. Crowd support is still limited, but never mind. Paris now has a race worthy of one of the world's greatest cities.
Course: Many European marathons promise a sightseeing tour on foot, then route you through long stretches of industrial wasteland. Not so with Paris. The race course packs in just about every feature the city has to offer. You start on the Champs-Elysees, pass through the Bois de Vincennes and Bois de Boulogne in the early stages, and take in the Louvre, Notre Dame, Arc de Triomphe, and Eiffel Tower along the way. It's not a fast course, but with views like these, who cares!
Size: 20,000+
Contact: Marathon International de Paris, AMSP, 8 Rue Crozatier, 75012 Paris, France; phone 33 1 41 33 15 68;

While Rotterdam isn't usually considered one of Europe's must-visit cities, thousands of runners come en masse to this modern port city to take part in the marathon every spring. They're drawn by a pancake-flat course and the knowledge that the organizers produce an excellent race. What's more, the city really champions the event, and practically closes down on race day. Rotterdam continually improves in novel ways (it was one of the first marathons to use the timing chip), and certainly challenges the idea that only great cities can host great marathons.
Course: Again, The Netherlands is devoid of hills, so it's no surprise that Rotterdam offers one of the flattest, fastest courses on earth. Other than the Erasmus Bridge at 2-K and two wooden sections at 5-K and 30-K, the loop course is fairly unremarkable. But then, you don't go to Rotterdam for the scenery.
Size: 10,000+
Contact: Rotterdam Marathon, P.O. Box 9412, 3007 AK Rotterdam, The Netherlands; phone 31 10 432 3266;

This gem of a marathon starts at 2 p.m. on a Saturday in the beginning of June, when the weather is pleasant and the city is full of loud, boisterous crowds. They throng much of the two-lap, city-center course, offering plenty of runner support. The race is designed to highlight the city's beautiful harbor on the shores of the Baltic Sea, and it succeeds wonderfully. It's not a particularly fast course, but Stockholm in June is a major consolation.
Course: Two almost-identical loops start outside the 1912 Olympic Stadium and finish on the track inside. Long sections of the course are flat, but enough undulations-particularly on the loop around Djurgarden and over various bridges-make it tough to PR.
Size: 12,000+
Contact: Stockholm Marathon, Box 10023, 10055 Stockholm, Sweden; phone 46 8 667 1930;
Special thanks to Steve Smythe, Runner's World U.K., for coordinating this story.

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Sunday, December 18, 2005

Revisit To Mount Faber & MR Trails This Week

Had the first evening of training with the SAFRA MF folks this week. A lot more runners are still not back to training yet, probably still resting, and getting busy with clearing their workload that had been put aside during the marathon season. This evening's run took us up to Mt. Faber by the reversed way, the Telok Blangah way, and requiring us to run approximately 3 loops round the Telok Blangah-HarbourFront roads. That will be about 15km, with at least a 1km upslope.

We chatted as we ran around Telok Blangah Way, mainly about the recent SCSM. Most agreed that marathon day was hot & humid, and that we could have prepared better with more conditioning as well as bringing along salt tablets....good lessons learnt. As I ran up the slopes of Mt. Faber, my breathing got heavier and it felt good to reach the top, seeing the brightly lit Christmas Tree (the largest in Singapore). We gathered for a while on top of the mountain, before dashing downslope all the way, and running 2 more loops around Telok Blangah. My body and legs felt good, and I felt fully recovered from the Marathon 2 Sundays ago. I am now ready to go for intervals training which starts on Thursday at Queenstown Stadium.

Distance Ran:15km ___Time:1hr23min____Pace:5:32min/km
Average HR:N/A___Max HR:N/A____KCal: 1,000 est.

Did very good tempo intervals at Queenstown Stadium on Thursday evening. Quite a good turnout. We rar 4km from Clubhouse at 7pm to Queenstown Stadium as a warmup. Once there, after a quick brief by trainer Ong (he was not running because of gout, but was there to overlook the training and shout out lap timings...very dedicated trainer at SAFRA MF). We did a total of 4 sets, 2km for 1st set, then 1.6km, then 800m and then 400m. Very interesting interval training, to be run at tempo race. I liked the variance. I did the following timings with 3min rest in between sets:
1st set, 2km @ 9min05sec
2nd set, 1.6km @ 6min51sec
3rd set, 800m @ 3min20sec
4th set, 400m @ 1min26sec
After that, did a 4km slow run back to ClubHouse. Did a good cooling down, followed by delicious laksa for dinner.

Distance Ran:12.8km ___Time:1hr est____KCal: 900 est.

SgRunners @ MacRitchie for the Ultra-Marathon Recce

Ended the week with a nice, cool 15km run on Sunday at the MacRitchie (MR) trails with SgRunners...DO, Tiwazz, TLR, leh-lio girl, Yulan, Cheow12, Violet, Sotong, Leica, cosmic_wind, superboy, balasing, 136, alvo and meteor.

It was 3 months since I ran these trails, and really appreciated the cool weather and damp, but not wet/soggy trails. Great company, who ran at a good reasonable pace together as a group. Ran an extra 5km to UPR revisiting the 2 steep slopes both ways, and enjoyed the nice scenery by the reservoir. We also covered the 10.5km lap recce for the MR25 Ultra-Marathon on Dec25. I am looking forward to complete 5 laps of that 10.5km route next week, and getting the nice finisher's T-Shirt.

Had good carbo-loading of prata n teh-tarik/milo dino at SMU Prata Place afterwards. Will be great to have leh-lio,Yulan, Leica & Sotong join us next time for makan. Hope to do an extension of this run sometime early 2006.

Distance Ran:15km ___Time:1hr40min est____KCal: 1,100 est

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Monday, December 12, 2005

Training begins this week - for marathons in 2006

Trainer Ong has developed the Training Program for 2006 marathons. I am looking to run the KL Marathon & Thailand Temple Race in March 06. Training begins this week Tuesday, officially. I did a quick, no-hassle 10km run (took 48:45min) around my estate today, under the scorching evening sun. Went with Amanda and Sean for a 1.6km short warm run prior, to kickstart their engines too. I have more or less recovered from the marathon on Dec4, and is ready to begin ramping up my running again.

The week ahead
For Tuesday's run,
Location: Mount Faber
Type: Warm-up run
Route: Clubhouse -> Harbourfront -> Mount Faber Entrance (Kampong
Bahru) -> Mount Faber Cable Car station -> Morse Rd -> Harbourfront
-> Telok Blangah Rise -> Clubhouse -> Henderson Rd -> Harbourfront
-> Telok Blangah Rise -> Clubhouse
Distance: 15 km
Pace: 6 min/km
Start time: 6.50 pm

For Thursday's run,
Location: Queenstown stadium
Type: Tempo run
Sets: 4 sets (2 km, 1.6 km, 800m, 400m)
Pace: 2 min/rd
Rest time: 3 min
Start time: 6.45 pm

For Sunday's run,
Location: Yishun stadium
Type: Long endurance run
Route: Yishun stadium -> Yishun Ave 1 -> Outskirt of Seletar camp ->
Jalan Kayu -> Into Seletar Camp -> Yishun Ave 1 -> Yishun stadium
Distance: 20 km
Pace: 6 min/km
Start time: 7.30 am

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SCSM05 - Official Results Are Out

Race Results

Name Ovr
FinishT NetChip

1 157 Elangovan S?O Ganesan
54 02:53:00 02:52:55
2 2950 Khoo Chin Poo 57 02:53:49 02:53:44
3 4409 William Fabian 65 03:03:09 03:03:04
170 5740 Ang Xian En Hope 360 04:08:59 04:07:29
171 3429 Tan Geok Kuan 361 04:09:02 04:08:53
172 3927 Tan Wee Long 362 04:09:03 04:05:13
173 646 Sum Yew Wah Anthony 363 04:09:08 04:08:02
174 3258 Hing Siong Chen 364 04:09:08 04:06:39
175 2782 Ng Lai Hoe 365 04:09:09 04:07:27
176 5276 Ng Weisheng Wilson 366 04:09:13 04:08:16
177 5817 Goh Cheng Kang 367 04:09:13 04:06:24
178 1894 Goh Hor 368 04:09:15 04:09:10
179 1951 Koh Wee Kwang 369 04:09:28 04:05:40
180 1639 Teo Tian Bock 372 04:09:48 04:08:30

Other Results Here

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Sunday, December 11, 2005

Post Marathon Recovery Week

After resting for 4 days after Sunday's SCSM05 marathon, my legs were feeling alright and very itchy for a run. My legs were sore on Monday and Tuesday, and I had difficulty moving my and down flights of stairs. The cramps i suffered on Sunday were serious enough for the pains to linger on. By Wednesday, my legs were feeling much better, and I managed to go for a swim to get some cardio in.

On Thursday, I decided to do a 10km loop around my home since there was some time. I slipped on my new StanChart running ves, put on the Reebok cap, and away I went running under the hot sun I was perspiring furiously. My legs felt tight throughout the run, but it was good to give them a light workout as recovery. At about the usual halfway mark near my home, my timing was slower by 2mins than usual. The sun was blazing hot, but was bearable with my recent conditioning under hot sun. I finished the run in about 50mins, covering 10km. I did some light stretches, before cooling down and then went for a makan appointment.

Distance Ran:10km ___Time:50min____Pace:5min/km
Average HR:N/A___Max HR:N/A____KCal: 750 est.

Sunday will be SAFRA's first recovery run of 14km, after the SCM marathon. We started at about 7.45am with a short sharing of the marathon experience by Ong and Lai Chee. Ong shared that he found that taking walk breaks on the way to drink points will help after 32km. There was a very small turnout, with David, Derrick, Lee, Jaime and Andre forming the rest of the runners. There was still a very slight drizzle when we started, and we mostly ran at chit-chatting pace down along Ridley, then to Depmsey area, coming out onto Botanic Gardens entrance, and then turning up along Farrer Road, then to Margaret Drive area and back along Delta Canal and all the way back to clubhouse. I ran cautiously not wanting to surface any potential injury. Had a good makan and chatted about doing the ING Temple Run in march06. Trainer Ong will be coming out with the Marathon training programs for HK and KL Marathons soon, and I look forward to starting training soon.

Distance Ran:14km ___Time:1hr15min____Pace:5:21min/km
Average HR:N/A___Max HR:N/A____KCal: 1000 est.

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Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The SCSM05 Marathon Photos Are Out

More Photos During The 42.195km marathon

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The Singapore Marathon 2005: Official Results Out

The Results Are Out. I secured a net chip time of 4hr8min2sec.

The following are some statistics of my placings in the field of marathon runners:

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Monday, December 05, 2005

My Maiden Marathon: A Brief Race Report

Its the culmination of 3 months worth of training, in preparation for my maiden full marathon, a distance of 42.195km at the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon 2005 (SCSM05). It seemed like only yesterday when I did the 10km race last year at the same event; and this year I was signed up for the full marathon. Nonetheless, I went into this marathon full of hope for a good completion, getting the very nice finisher's T-Shirt as well as finisher's medal.

The race expo and carbo-loading sessions were held during the few days when I was tapering. I was to abstain from a list of things, and it was certainly not easy. I slept for maybe 30min the night before the race. It was good that I had a few nights of good sleep prior. I had taken 100plus, salt tablets and sweet potato soup as part of carbo loading and preparing my body. I pinned on my race bib, secured 2 packs of powergels to my shorts by safety pins. Packed my bag with tape, patt strap and a few other essentials. I laid on my bed at 12.30am, and soon was up again at about 3.30am. I went for a quick bath and took a breakfast of two slices of bread with peanut butter, downed with my usual cup of coffee. I brought along some bananas to be consumed 1hr before the race.

Prior To Race Start - Gathering near The Esplanade

I arrived at Adelphi carpark, just metres away from the Padang, and met Alvo, taz, runaway girl, and a few SAFRA Running friends. We sat around a bit, took a few photos, and I took a banana. We did some light warm-up, before proceeding to The Esplanade start point to meet up with the rest. There I saw chairman, Teen, Adam, Jimmy, Akira and many other safra members. As I moved around, I also met Ultraman deep in meditation and a few other SgRunners. After my final pee break, it was time to gather in the starting pens. It seemed a bit chaotic, and I could not seem to find the race pacers with their balloons anywhere. I spotted Bug looking around, and went up to him. He mentioned he was looking for me too. After waiting for about 15min with music and fanfare, the race was called to a start.

The First 10km
I started off with a slow shuffle, and I was going slow. I did not attempt to skirt round anyone in my way. I was just patiently moving along at what might have been a 6.30min/km pace. I wanted to slowly warm up. As I moved along, I passed Teen and then Jaime and Adam. We wished one another good luck and moved independently along Shenton Way in the rather humid morning. Soon, we turned into the Marina South area. I had run this route for the past few weekends during training, and was in familiar territory. I plodded along in slow pace, and was feeling very comfortable. I looked at the skies, and it seemed reddish, threatening to rain. I was praying that the rains won't come. As we entered into Marina South, the first of the Kenyan frontrunners were sprinting back in the reverse direction, to loud applause by the rest of us. We were overawed by their sheer speed and raw power...Whoa. A group ran past us, then another, and then the ladies. After that, it was quiet again and we continued on our journey. I ran along with quite a large group still along Marina Avenue, and by the 7km mark, have made up for lost timing. I was aiming to do a 5:45min/km in the early stages. As I ran out of Marina South, passing Victor's Bowl, the 21km frontrunners were running past. I acknowledged some that I could identify. All along the way, I could hear people calling out my names at times, most of them friends at SAFRA and SgRunners. I acknowledged them with a wave, but not really wanting to shout or talk, to conserve my energy.

Coming Out Of Marina South - Cortesy SportsphotoX

The next 10km
As I ran back onto the Shenton Way area, I could see the 10km runners coming in the reverse. It was 7.10am or so, and that was the time they would have started. I was looking out for Beverly, but there were just too many of them to spot anyone. As I moved on, I spotted Goola and ran past her, with a friendly wave. Then Teck Hou came from behind, and we chatted a bit before he moved up. He was expected to do a sub-4hr based on his recent good performances. As I ran into the Kallang area, I took my first packet of powergel which I had carried in my shorts. The sun was up and it was getting warm. I was using some of the bottled water to douse myself, and cool off. I did a body sense, and all was going well. No pain in my legs, nor Patt Strap was firmly PF pains too....I continued on, and overtook quite a number of people as i ran into East Coast Park (ECP). It was about 19km then, and I could see the local and some international elites on the other side.

The 30km mark
My Patt Strap was getting very wet from my dripping sweat, and was slipping. I had to stop a few times to readjust, and it did disturb my momentum quite a bit. It was a small group of about 5 of us running along, and there were quite a number of people cherring us on at this stretch. As we reached the 22km mark, I took the 2nd pack of Powergel. My legs were feeling a bit blistery, but other than that, all was good. I was overtaking quite a few people, as more of them were walking or slowing down. I ran past the 24km mark in good timing (sub-4hr on track) and was trying to spot the SgRunners support team. I didn't see them but there were many other support groups along the way. Soon reached the lagoon area, and the sun was burning. Quite a number of people were slouching and dragging their feet already. My conditioning under hot sun in recent training was useful as I ran on. At about the 26km mark, I grabbed a banana provided by the organizers. I saw Ong walking at that point, and passed him without alerting. He seemed tired, as was what happened to EH when I passed her at the 22km mark. I then saw runalone/Freddy coming back on the reverse. My, he was fast...he later completed the race in 3hr35min, a very good timing. Further on, with 150m to the U-Turn point, I saw Bug and Commando running back too. At about the 28km mark, powergels were given by the organizer. As I had just taken my 2nd pack, I held this in my hands for 2km later. As I ran in the reverse towards Fort Road direction, a few like IronManDreamer, Sotong, taz, runaway, Teen were spotted on the other side at various points. From the 27km mark, I felt a sudden tension in my right calf, and had an attack of muscle cramps. I immediately changed to a heel strike action, pulling in my toes, in an attempt to relieve the pain. I hobbled a bit, but did not stop to walk. At the 29km water point, I walked a bit as I drank to relieve the cramps.

Applying lots of Deep Heat for my cramps @ The SgRunners 30km Support Point

It got worse as I moved along, and I was so glad to see the SgRunners support team at the 30km mark. I told renohtaram I was having cramps, and he immediately passed me some deep heat rub...I applied generously, and also took my prepared bottle of Livita. I stopped for about 3min at the station before moving off. As I ran, I could feel some heat build-up, and relief to my right calf. I brought along another pack of Powergel in my hands from the support station.

The next 8km
I soon spotted Skyvers at about the 31km mark. He was running quite slowly. I told him I was having cramps, and he mentioned he too was suffering from cramps. He told me Alvo was in front. I moved ahead but didn't get to see Alvo, whom I found later that he had actually gone to the side at the grass patch. At this stretch, my cramps got worse, and my left calf was also having spasms...Ouch, I was wondering if I could carry on. I pushed on by pulling my toes back as I ran, adopting various different landing styles to ease the muscle pain. As I recalled, I did not take the salt tablet earlier, and I was then paying for the mistake. I struggled on, hoping to complete the agony. Soon I was nearing the exit out of ECP to Fort Road. I spotted Jimmy Chow who was running very slowly. I ran past him, and despite my calf pulls, I continued along onto Geylang Road. It was about 8km more to go. I peservered, taking sips of drinks from all the water points. More and more runspirators were appearing, but I was trying to focus on not getting my calf muscles tightened. Everytime I increase my pace, the calf muscles will tighten and pull. It was frustrating, as I was feeling strong in my legs and my lungs. I was still on target for a sub-4hr, if only I could pick up the pace...haiz

The final 5km
As I ran along Kallang Stadium and out of PA, my legs were getting all very tight, including my quads and even hamstrings. I know that if i stop or do any funny action like bending over, I might just get into a muscle spasm which will immobilize me. I tried to be careful not to get into a situation where I had to abandon the race. Just as I entered into Marina Promenade, I took my first walk break. I did a fast walk of about 200m, and started to run again. I then spotted DO in front, with his white cap. He was looking tired too. I chugged along and soon caught up with him. DO indicated he too was suffering from cramps and fatique, and told me to go ahead to find Ultraman in front. I moved on and soon caught up and overtook Ultra. I did not say much to Ultra, as I could see he was focusing on getting to the end point. With about 2km to go, my muscles pulled very badly and I had to hobble. I walked for about 300m, and Ultraman and 2 others overtook me. I walked fast, so I wasn't lagging that far behind. With 1.5km left to go, I started to run and overtook ultraman with about 1km to go. I decided to run all the way, and even with my muscle spasms, I was not stopping. With 200m to go, Tiwazz was there to cheer me on. I perked up and knowing it was near the end, I increased pace. Then my muscles pulled hard...eeeeks...I slowed down immediately. I did not want to collapse just 200m away from the finish, as what had happened to a Ang Moh runner. With 100m to the finish, Ultraman overtook me for a final time. I ran about 25m behind him and when I looked up, it was 4hr08min. I maintained a good posture and raised my hands as I crossed the finish, hoping for a nice photo shot...:)

Crossing The Finish Line In 4h:08m:02s

Post Race

Just Crossed The Finish Line in 4hr08min - Happy mood with SgRunners

Immediately after crossing the finish, I continued to slow jog to avoid cramps setting in. I spotted Brokie, runalone and leh-lio girl, and went to have a few photos with them. I then proceeded to have 100plus, did some stretches, and proceeded to collect the finisher's medal and T-shirt. I bumped into Teck Hou and LNH who were also collecting their finsher's T. Teck Hou did a respectable 3hr56min. I then met DO and we went to have our free massage for marathoners. 2 trained students from NYP attended and gave me a 10min light massage which was supposed to be good at relieving cramps. While attempting to take out my shoes and socks for the massage, I has a big seizure which immobilized me for a good 5min. Phew!. After the massage, I met the SAFRA Runners for bananas and cakes, to fuel the immediate glycogen needs of my depleted body. I found that Wong did 3hr59min, SH did 3hr55min, and a few others' timings too. Most of them did worse than last year, and they mentioned that the route and weather conditions this year were a lot tougher. That sort of made me feel a little better in some ways for my 4hr08min timing. I then went back to my car, had a good washup, put on my finisher's T, and proceeded to meet up with SgRunners at The Padang for group photos.

A satisfied group of SgRunners and 30km Support Crew - Well Done Guys!

Along the way, met Lai Chee, Alan Chao, Kumaran, Derrick and many others. All shared stories of hot weather and cramps. This was a great experience and achievement for me, my maiden marathon. With my first marathon completed in a reasonably good timing, I am now planning to tackle the next interesting challenge, the MR25 Ultra-Marathon on Dec25.

The race analysis provided by Standard Chartered showed that I finished in the top 9% of the entire field, and top 5% finisher in the Singapore field.

Distance Ran:42.195km
Chip Time:4hr08min02sec

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Friday, December 02, 2005

The Final Week Of SCSM05

This is the final week. D-Day is this Sunday, where I will be running my first ever 'Virgin' Marathon. a full 42.2km. Today is the second last run, a short tapering run just to keep the engines warm. We are supposed to be cutting down on mileage, and reserving all for the big race this Sunday. I took the oppotunity to try out carring powergels by pinning to my shorts, which I have never done before. After a few adjustments, and postioning, I found a sweet spot. I also tried a new lacing method, which is supposed to prevent my toes from hitting the shoe front when I run forward.

The skies looked rainy. But what the heck; it was going to be a short run anyway...8km from SAFRA MF to Labrador Park loop course. The group was smaller, as many might be doing their own tapering and training. We started at 7pm and there was no rain. I tried to run a tempo pace. My nose was still a little blocked, and I found that it did impact on my breathing and this my form and energy levels. I finished the 8km in about 50min.

Thursday will be the final tapering short run of 9km from SAFRA MF to Harbourfront loop.

Went down on Thursday to collect the race pack for SCSM05. I was there promptly at 11am, and already saw Tiwazz, Yankee, DO, Ultraman, Penguin in the queue. Went ahead to join them and got coupons from Tiwazz for 2 goodie bags. Brokie and her two kids joined us shortly and we went into the expo hall and joined separate queues for the 10km, 21km and marathon. The queues were long, probably because it was the first morning of collection, and all eager beavers wanted to collect their race packs first. We queued for about an hour before getting our packs.

The very nice blue race vest that came with a shoe bag and bib 646

We met quite a few familiar faces, and just in front of my marathon queue were the Ghurkhas, a number of them going for the marathon this year. The race pack comprised of a race singlet, and the race booklet...hmm, very nice, the race singlet. I got my bib no. 646...hmm, not too auspicious a number, some might say, but what the heck, I'll just do my best with it. After collecting our packs, we moved around the expo hall visiting the various exhibits and collecting race brochures for HK Marathon, Serawak, Thailand Temple Run, and Phuket Marathon as, seemed like there are a lot of nice marathons for 2006. Must start planning for them right after SCSM. Some more people came...Bug, Carine, and some SAFRA runners too. Said hello to some of them, and once all SgRunners in our group were done, we proceeded to have a nice lunch at Sizzler's. As usual, we had a swell time discussing about the forum and shoutbox, as well as preparations for the support table for the run.

In the evening, I had my final tapering run of 8km from SAFRA MF to Harbourfront loop. Bug came to join me, and this evening, the group was rather small, maybe about 10 of us. Jaime did come in the end, but she didn't run as she was feeling tired. Ong led the run as usual, and we did quite a fast tempo, since it was pretty short. Most of the way, Ong, myself, TLH, Bug, and the Tiong Bahru runner were running in the front pack. I did not put on my watch. I had a salt tablet just before to test out its efficacy and if there were undesirable effects. I also cliiped a powergel on for good measure. All turned out well, and I guess they will be with me on race day. I finished the run in about 46min. I will now rest and look forward to an injury-free marathon this Sunday, Dec 4.

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